Review – Mini Motorways (Switch)

The Switch version of Mini Motorways, originally an Apple Arcade exclusive, was announced during the latest Nintendo Switch indie-focused presentation. Upon its reveal, a chunk of the WTMG staff looked at it and shrugged it off, thinking it was yet another artsy indie game that put its artistic values over a good gameplay loop and fun factor. I am happy I decided to give it a go regardless of that, for I could have never predicted how much I would end up loving it. Yes, I may not like this game’s presentation, but I am currently addicted to it like very few games on my Nintendo Switch.

Mini Motorways Beginning Level

Easy going at first.

At first glance, Mini Motorways looks like a minimalistic take on a city builder, almost as if you were playing a spiritual successor of the top-down (and really boring, may I add) Sim City from 1989. That is not the case. This is a puzzle game, an arcadey puzzle game meant to hook you and win you over with a ridiculously simplistic, but monstrously challenging gameplay loop.

This is a game about logistics. You are given an ever increasing (and randomly generated) number of houses and commercial buildings. Your objective is to plan and build a road infrastructure connecting them altogether with a very limited amount of road tiles and extra perks, such as bridges, tunnels, a motorway, roundabouts, and more. If you manage to “survive” an entire week with your city up and running, you are given the opportunity to choose between two random perks like those mentioned in this paragraph. All you need to do is keep your city traffic-free. You lose once one of your commercial buildings racks up too many unattended requests due to traffic.

Mini Motorways Screenshots

You can take a screenshot of your road network disaster once a round is over.

To survive in this game is easier said than done. The controls are ridiculously simple, with the game being entirely playable with the Switch’s touchscreen (this is an Apple Arcade original, after all). The entire gameplay loop can be learned in about five minutes, but Mini Motorways is still tough. You will lose. You are meant to lose. This is a game all about seeing how long your city’s growth can last before its road network collapses due to the combination of your inevitable failure and the game doing its best to screw you up by putting specific houses far away as possible from their specific commercial buildings. Yet I never got bored. I would always play another round of Mini Motorways.


The additional scenarios are a nice distraction at best.

In fact, I have few qualms about the game as a whole besides its bland and repetitive presentation, which is a given considering its origins as a mobile game. My biggest issue with it is the fact that I ran out of maps rather quickly. I unlocked all of them in a day, and unlocked their special scenarios (you do that by reaching 1000 completed trips in one map run) in an additional day. Those scenarios are quirky and hilarious, especially when they tell you to build a road network out of roundabouts, but they aren’t as special as the main maps the game has to offer. I wanted more of it. I was craving for more Mini Motorways.

High Score

If you can get to such score, consider yourself a logistics genius.

It could have been a really pretentious and mediocre art game, but Mini Motorways ended up being the complete opposite. This is pure arcade bliss, a simple but ridiculously challenging puzzler that won me over like few games in the genre. I can’t remember the last time I played a Switch game until its batteries ran completely dry because of how addictive and perfectly suited for portable play it was. When the main issue I’ve had with a game was the fact it ended, you know the devs must have done something right.


Graphics: 6.5

The minimalist art style works for the style of gameplay, but it does get repetitive after a while.

Gameplay: 9.0

It is completely touch-based, and brilliant in this regard. It’s a simple gameplay loop in literal terms, but really thought-provoking and challenging after a while.

Sound: 5.5

Being an Apple Arcade game, Mini Motorways is the typical kind of game where its sound design was at the bottom of its priority list. Whether you play it on mute or not, it makes no difference. The sound design is as bland as it gets.

Fun Factor: 9.0

It could have been a really pretentious and mediocre art game, but Mini Motorways ended up being the complete opposite. It’s a deceiving title: it looks simplistic and limited, but it’s really challenging and addictive. Having this on-the-go is a no-brainer.

Final Verdict: 8.0

Mini Motorways is available now on PC, Nintendo Switch, and Apple Arcade.

Reviewed on Nintendo Switch .

A copy of Mini Motorways was provided by the publisher.